Normally I unduly worry about those end of year lists we publish, but after hearing ‘Damaged’, not any more. A little gushing perhaps, but then there is much on the third album from Hawaii’s Razed in Black to gush about. Let’s be clear here, there is no such thing as musical extremism anymore, unless you start shooting the audience; the zeitgeist is upon us and all sound is second hand, but ‘Damaged’ cradles its dialectic of sound design with an acrobat’s sense of balance. It looks forward enough to be fresh, yet the raging guitars slashed across trance rhythms almost perfectly encapsulate exactly where the goth-industrial movement is at the moment, a kind of updated ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ on overdrive. And in song-writing it epitomises it. Odd guest spot aside, multi-instrumentalist Romell Regulacion plays, programs and sings everything on here, and in switching moods from plaintive to desperation via fury and woe, he exercises absolute and consummate control of the musical process throughout. It finds its apogee of expression in the twisting and building melodies and crescendos of ‘Share this poison’, but elsewhere on ‘Damaged’ the concoction of frenetic beats and swirling melody is just as lethal in effect. An exceptional album.

Alex Whitehead 9/10